Page images



Income. Tuam and Ardagh

8,206 Waterford and Lismore 4,323 Elphin.

7,034 Cork and Ross

4,346 Clonfert and Kilmacduagh 3,261 Cloyne

5,009 Killaloe and Achonry. . 4,082 Killaloe and Kilfenora


Total income of the Bishops . . £150,635 According to the new arrangement, the island is divided into two ecclesiastical provinces, under two archbishops, by a line supposed to be drawn from the north of Dublin county to the south of Galway Bay. The bishops and their incomes now stand thus :NORTHERN PROVINCE.

Armagh and Clogher

Meath and Clonmacnoise

4,068 Derry and Raphoe

8,000 Down, Connor, and Dromore

4,204 Kilnıore, Ardagh, and Elphin

6,253 Tuam, Killaloe, and Achonry


£39,212 There is, no doubt, considerable retrenchment here; but we cannot but be struck with the fact that, under the reformed system, the Legislature has assigned to six bishops an aggregate income as large as it assigns to four hundred Presbyterian pastors in the same province. Surely it cannot be flattering to the General Assembly to see that in the opinion of Parliament one bishop outweighs sixty or seventy of its ministers.


Dublin, Glendalough, and Kildare

Ossory, Leighlin, and Ferns .

4,200 Cashel, Emly, Waterford, and Lismore

5,000 Cork, Čloyne, and Ross

2,498 Killaloe, Kilfenora, Clonfert, and Kilmacduagh 3,870 Limerick, Ardfert, and Aghadoe


£28,327 The total income of the two archbishops and their ten suffragans amounts to £67,539, giving to each an average of £5,628.

The Ecclesiastical Commissioners were appointed to take charge of revenues arising from suppressed bishoprics, suspended dignities and benefices, and disappropri

ated tithes, &c. These revenues are to be devoted to strictly ecclesiastical purposes, such as the building and repairing of churches, and meeting the deficiency occasioned by the abolition of the vestry rates, augmenting small benefices, &c.

The commissioners have large funds under their control, and they have also great power in disposing of them. They have authority to disappropriate benefices united to dignities, and to unite them to vicarages in lieu thereof. They have also the power of suspending the appointment to benefices which are in the gift either of the Crown, of archbishops, bishops, or other dignitaries, or of ecclesiastical corporations, where it appears that Divine service has not been performed within such benefices for three years before the passing of the act. They received from suppressed sees :In 1846, the sum of £42,770

32,638 In 1848,

40,841 Their total receipts amounted

In 1847, to £103,474

In 1848, to 98,787 All this money was disbursed during the same years. They received in 1848 from the Boulter and Robinson funds, the additional sum of £4,276.

The total expenditure of the Commission on church repairs since its establishment has been


d. Ordinary

410,061 3 4 Extraordinary

27,632 13 10

£437,693 17 2

d. Its total receipts during that time have been 1,732,374 9 74 Total disbursements

1,721,945 3 5

In 1847,

[ocr errors]


The value of the whole perpetuities, under their management is estimated (if sold) at £1,200,000.

If the Appropriation Clause had been carried, what an immense surplus of ecclesiastical property would have been at the disposal of the Government for the education of the people, the relief of the poor, or other

secular purposes, by which the entire nation would have benefited.

Why, the very expenses of this Commission and its official establishment would have done a great deal in this direction. The following table is from their own returns to Parliament, and shows what their services have cost the public :1838 £14,034 1845

7,728 1839 13,046 1846

8,016 1840 14,265 1847

8,184 1841 15,247 1848

6,516 1842

13,272 1843 13,587

Total. £121,918 1844

8,023 Thus, £121,918, part of the income which they so expensively manage, is derived from a tax on all benefices and dignities, whose net annual value exceeds £300. The rate of charge increases by 2s. 6d. per cent. on every additional £10 above £405. All benefices and dignities exceeding £1,195 are charged at the rate of fifteen per cent. There is also a graduated per centage on all bishoprics which exceed £4,000 per

In lieu of this tax Armagh pays the Commissioners £4,500 a-year. Derry, in like manner, pays £6,160 a-year.

Under the old system the tiller of the soil was obliged to give the tenth of his produce to the parson, and the tithe-proctor came annually into his fields to value his crops for this purpose. Then the burden of supporting the Established Church fell almost entirely on the poor occupiers of the soil, the great majority of whom were Roman Catholics. The iniquity thus came home to their doors in the most offensive form. At last it became intolerable. O'Connell roused a fierce agitation against it, until the people were on the eve of a great victory, when their leader agreed to a compromise, which mitigated the evil, indeed, but at the same time made it permanent, and ok the remedy out of the hands of those who were most interested in applying it. Since the tithes became a rent-charge the ecclesiastical portion of them is much diminished.

The total amount of revenues received by the Church now is £401,114. But it must be borne in mind that this


is only three-fourths of what the tenant has to pay, as the landlord has twenty-five per cent. for his trouble and responsibility in the matter. The impropriate tithes amount to £81,659 per annum, making the total amount of tithes £482,873.

Now let the reader, after studying these figures, bear in mind, and ponder on a few facts :

1. This hierarchy, with its princely bishops and vast revenues, extracted from the most wretched population in the civilized world, exists for the supposed benefit of 700,000 persons only—or one-tenth of the population. How can the clergy of such a portion of the nation call itself the National Church ? In what sense is it national ? It still remains the Church of a small colony. In sentiment, policy, and interest, it has ever been most anti-national ; and, of course, it cannot base its pretensions on the number of its adherents.

2. It has for three hundred years utterly failed in its mission to the natives, and has even failed to instruct and edify the small section of the community which it could call its own. That this is the necessary consequence of its connexion with the State many of its own ministers now acknowledge. They feel that the Church of England in Ireland never can be efficient till she ceases to be the Church by law established. They know that whenever her ministers have gone forth, as in the Home Mission, on the voluntary principle, and independently of bishops and the State, the people have followed them with enthusiasm ; but when they went back again under the prelatic yoke, the laity sunk into formality and apathy.

3. So far from converting the natives, its conduct has rendered their conversion a moral impossibility, so vio. lently antagonistic has it ever been to all their best interests, religious, moral, social, and political. The ever-vigilant sentinel of tyranny, whenever and wherever the conquered people attempted to rise in society, it sounded the alarm, and roused the ruling powers to crush and bind afresh that poor, doomed race. In this capacity alone do the Roman Catholics know it. To them it has never published "peace.” On the

contrary, all its ministers are associated in their minds with war and spoliation. Harmony there never can be in that country so long as this proud, secular, political Church Establishment exacts tribute of the whole people, and claims to be the Church of the State.

The best thing the State could possibly do for the Church would be to disestablish it. Let it be set free, and let existing incumbents have their property while they live. Let the funds which now flow so copiously into the treasury of the Ecclesiastical Commission be applied to national purposes. Let Lord John Russell's principle of equality be fairly carried out; not by striving to make the Church of Rome become what the Church of England has been--a State engine-but by letting the latter do the best she can, as a free Church, with the resources of her own people. These resources are ample; her members possess nearly all the landed property in the country. They are the gentry, and their Church would long maintain a social pre-eminence without


official aid or countenance from the State. It cannot be successfully urged as an objection to separation, that it would be a violation of the rights of property, for no incumbent has more than a life-interest in the Establishment; and life-interests would not be touched. No man can bequeath Church property to his heirs. He has only the use of it while he performs certain duties which the State has annexed to the possession. The State gave him the property for the public good; the State can, with equal justice, withhold it from his successor for the public good.* It is trust-property; and trust-property has been repeatedly dealt with by the Legislature when it has failed to answer its purpose, or become the occasion of evil. There never was a case of trust-property so grossly, so systematically, so mischievously perverted as that of the Irish Church. As the present generation of beneficiaries calculated on a life-interest, let them have it. But let no minister or statesman speak of good government or justice for Ire

* For a fuller exposition of this part of the subject see the tracts, published by this Association, entitled “ Church Property–whose is it?” and “ Who constitute the National Church ?",

« EelmineJätka »